By Jethro Ibileke
An Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP Joseph Okoh and 12 other people abducted by suspected kidnappers in two separate operations in Edo State have been rescued by the Police.
In the first incident which occurred at about 9.11 pm, on 9 January, 2022, the police officer, ASP Joseph Okoh and six other passengers were traveling along the Benin-Ekpoma road when they were accosted by armed hoodlums suspected to be kidnappers, at Okwo Ogbemudia Farm.
The hoodlums reportedly shot sporadically on vehicles plying the highway, during which some passengers were kidnapped by the hoodlums.
A statement from the office of the Command’s spokesman, SP Kontongs Bello, stated that the DPO of Ehor Division, CSP Benefa Benjamin, immediately led a team of operatives and local vigilante and hunters to the scene and embarked on bush combing operation.
Kontongs added that the driver of a Passat GL vehicle with Reg. No. BEN 628 MS which veered off the road and ran into a palm tree, sustained bullet wound on his head and thigh and unconscious, while one other female passenger identified as Awoma Jerry (28), also have injury on her knee and thigh.
They were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital for medical attention by the operatives.
“On receipt of the information the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Ehor Division, CSP Benefa Benjamin, immediately mobilized his team of police operative and the military at Ehor, to the scene.
“Further bush combing was carried out along the power line axis and at about 2308hrs the armed hoodlums were sighted crossing with some victims, on sighting the team of operatives the hoodlums engage them in gun duel, but the superior fire power of the team of operatives over powered them which led to the rescue of seven (five male and two female) victims unhurt,” the statement added.
One of the kidnappers was neutralized by the operatives.
Names of the rescued victims were given as Lucky Ebuade, Flora Ebude, ASP Joseph Okoh, Tina Okiti, Adamu Danusa, Hassan Mohammed, and Tolba Masamavi and have since been profiled and asked to continue on their journey.
In the second incident which occured on 1 January, 2022, 10 persons who were conveying a corpse in a Toyota Hiace Bus with Reg. No. AB 14 TR, from Taraba State to Iruekpen in the State for burial, were waylaid by hoodlums and kidnapped along Igueben-Opoji Road at about 12.45 am.
On receipt of the information, the Divisional Police Officer of Ekpoma Division, CSP Bukoye Oyegbemi, immediately mobilized a team of police operatives, local vigilante and hunters to the scene and embarked on bush combing operation.
Six victims were rescued unhurt in the process, while efforts is still ongoing to rescue the remaining four victims and further arrest the suspected kidnappers.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police, CP Philip Aliyu Ogbadu, has thanked the general public for cooperating with the police by way of providing prompt and credible information on the activities of criminal elements in the state.
He reinstated the Command’s commitment for more roburst patrol across the State, especially on the highways.
John Abebe’s forgery trial adjourned
The trial of John Warimeme Abebe before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has been adjourned till April 13, 2022 for the adoption of written addresses.
Justice Mojisola Dada gave the new date at the continuation of trial on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, with the defence closing its case.
Abebe, ex- President Obasanjo’s in-law was first arraigned on July 26, 2018 on a four-count charge bordering on forgery, fabricating evidence, using fabricated evidence and attempt to pervert the course of justice by the Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr. John Warimeme Abebe, on or about the 22nd day of June, 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly forged BP Exploration Nigeria Limited’s letter dated 30th November, 1995 to Inducon (Nigeria) Limited by inserting in page 2 of the said letter the following words: “Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the NPIA. The $4m buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields” and purported same to have been issued by BP Exploration Nigeria Limited and committed an offence contrary to Section 467 of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.”
Another count reads: “That you, Dr. John Warimeme Abebe, on or about the 22nd day of June, 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly used a fabricated evidence in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/224/2010 between Dr. John Abebe, Inducon Nigeria Limited and Statoil Nigeria Limited, before the Federal High Court, which evidence was admitted and marked exhibit BB in the said suit and committed an offence contrary to Section 120 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.”
Abebe pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.
Led in evidence by his counsel, E.D. Onyeke, the defendant had taken to the dock to defend himself.
He was also cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, who confronted him with several documents.
At today’s sitting, Onyeke told the Court that the defence was closing its case.
“We will be asking the Court for a date to file our written address,” he said.
Thereafter, Justice Dada adjourned till April 13, 2022 for “definitive adoption of written addresses”.
Bandits killed 300 persons, kidnapped 200 in Niger January attacks – Gov
In the first two weeks of this month, Niger State communities were attacked by bandits at least 50 times, with over 300 persons killed and 200 kidnapped, including security personnel.
Governor Abubakar Bello disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday after he met with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to brief him on the development.
The governor, who enumerated the series of attacks and their consequences on lives, blamed the low response time to the attacks on the lack of access roads to the affected communities.
He, however, expressed optimism that with the new measures being put in place, the security situation in the state would improve soon, adding that contiguous states must work together to stop terrorists from moving from one region to another.
Bello stated, “This afternoon, I came to visit Mr President to give him an update on the security situation in Niger State concerning banditry activities, kidnapping and cattle rustling, among others. We were able to review some of the invasions in the state. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you all.
“In the last few days, there have been a lot of activities in Niger State. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we will see some relief with regard to banditry. I also gave a highlight on some of the challenges. Of course, our size is a disadvantage, almost nine million hectares. We lost some forests.
“In January this year alone, we suffered not less than 50 reported attacks and loss of lives between January 1 and 17. Within the same period, no fewer than 300 communities were invaded by bandits. The number of people kidnapped is 200, including three Chinese nationals.”